About Jeroen

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Every race he participates in and every decision that he makes, is completely based on accomplishing his ultimate goal: one day becoming IndyCar champion. Jeroen knows exactly what he wants and how he wants to accomplish his goals.

‘When I’m racing, there’s nothing else but the circuit, the car and me. Super focused, I pass my competitors and defend my position. Lap after lap, the adrenaline is pumping through my body. For me, it’s the best feeling in the world. I am fully committed to racing as good and fast as I possibly can. When it’s not going as planned, I never stop analyzing until I’ve found out what to change to start winning, and what to do to continue doing so. I want to keep learning every day, from the sport, my competitors, teammates, and of course myself. The ultimate goal of the never-ending search to perfect my skills is becoming IndyCar champion.’

The determination that can be heard when Jeroen tells his story leaves nothing to the imagination. He wants to become the best. He only drove his first laps on a go kart when he was already 14 years old when he was on vacation. Now, only five years later, he impresses as the 2011 British Formula Ford vice champion. Leaning back and enjoying this accomplishment is not something for Jeroen, who is already planning ahead for his next season, and analyzing what he has to improve to go one better than vice champion in the future.

Best place to learn

Jeroen: ‘I had a late start in motorsports, and I had simply never really thought about it as a possible career. After coming back in the Netherlands from that particular vacation, I rang up Len van Leeuwen from Pro Karting Holland for a day of outdoor karting in the pouring rain at the kart circuit in Driebergen, the Netherlands. At the end of the day, I was exhausted and completely drenched. I also knew though, that this was really something I wanted to become great at.’ 

In his rookie year, Jeroen won a race and finished fifth overall in the national championship. After barely a year in karting, he got his EU-license and went to touring cars under the supervision of WTCC race winner Tom Coronel. He drove for two years in the Dutch Suzuki Swift Cup.

‘For me, with my extremely limited experience having only driven my first laps in a go kart a year earlier, this was the best learning school I could get. It was very tough at the start, as I barely knew how to change gears and it was a lot different to a go-kart. I felt privileged to be working with someone like Tom Coronel, but at the same time I realized there was a lot to learn. The first year was therefore all about learning, sowing the seeds for the second year. That second year, we harvested those seeds. Taking 3rd overall after some tough luck with two victories, four pole positions, four fastest laps and seven podiums.’

The jump to single seaters

‘Even though I was already enjoying myself in touring cars, I also realized that if I wanted to have a shot at making it to IndyCar, I had to switch to single seaters. Therefore, in 2010, I made the switch to British Formula Ford. The choice of the British series over the Dutch one was a conscious decision.

It is by far the most competitive Formula Ford series in the world. All time great drivers like Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button have also raced in Formula Ford. I was the only Dutchman that year, and it was fantastic to race against drivers coming from all over the world. From Finland, to Australia, the United States, and of course the British drivers. All of us with the same goal: one day becoming champion in either IndyCars or Formula 1.’

‘During my debut year, I was still finishing my school exams. This meant traveling back and forth between school and the races in the UK. Inevitably, this wasn’t always ideal.

I will never forget being at a closed off Eurotunnel in the middle of the night while making my way back to the Netherlands for an English exam the following morning. Due to maintenance, only vehicles with commercial purposes were allowed through. After becoming clear that the Eurotunnel manager was really not going to allow us through as private transport, I quickly thought up an excuse. I opened the trunk, and got out my laptop. After convincing the manager I was an electronics dealer, he let me on the train with commercial transport. With no time to lose, I drove straight from Calais to school where I arrived just in time for my exam. Which I passed!’

British Formula Ford Vice Champion

As expected, the switch from touring cars to single seaters was very tough, especially with so little karting under his belt. Jeroen finished the season ninth in the standings, with a maiden podium at Donington Park. In 2011 however, everything fell into place. Jeroen eventually finished the season as vice champion, after leading the championship for the first half of the season.

The vice championship didn’t come easy though. Coming into the last weekend, Jeroen was third in the standings, with a 23 point gap to second place after getting a costly DNF behind his name in the preceding raceweekend. During the last weekend however, he took pole position, two second places and won the final race of the season, taking the lap record for a Formula Ford around the Silverstone Arena track along the way, to take the runner up spot in the championship.

‘That weekend I really proved to myself that I thrive under pressure, and that I can be competitive under any circumstance by driving concentrated, consistent, smart and fast. I want to continue learning at the highest possible rate, and continue improving my consistency, pace, racecraft and tactical insight.’’'

Dealing with setbacks

A disqualification, being crashed out of the race, a sponsordeal that fails to be completed. You can get frustrated and depressed, but that’s not something Jeroen sees as an option. ‘What’s a setback? I want to continue learning and improve my skills. When something doesn’t work as expected, or when things don’t go according to plan, that’s a  learning experience in the purest form and a sign that something has to change. I see it as a test for my mental toughness, and a challenge for my creativity. If you don’t know how to deal with setbacks, you will never accomplish anything, and you never mature.

For me, the clearest example of how important the right mindset is when having to deal with setbacks was the raceweekend I had at Spa in 2011. In practice, I barely drove due to technical gremlins with the engines. While everyone was getting in lots of laps, I was forced to sit out most of the free practice sessions. After debriefing what we could at the end of the day, I went back to my hotelroom and visualized the circuit and reference points many times before thinking up a gameplan for the next day and going to bed early. The next day, the team had done a great job with fixing the technical gremlins and we took pole position for all three races by over half a second, while beating the lap record by almost 1,5 seconds.’

Highest ranked rookie in Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup

After a long off season with a lot of uncertainties about his future in motorsports, Jeroen got a deal together with the 'Van Amersfoort Racing' team to fight for the championship in the highly competitive Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. Despite a lack of testing over the winter, Van Amersfoort Racing and Jeroen managed to win a race, win two pole positions and finish on the podium twice. This ensured a 4th place overall in the championship for Jeroen and meant that he was the highest ranked rookie in a field with almost 40 drivers.

American Dream

In 2013 Jeroen was a testdriver during the raceweekends for multiple teams in the American USF2000 championship. It provided Jeroen with an opportunity to learn the circuits before a championship attack in the Pro Mazda championship in 2014.

Friday Sep 27, 2013
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